More on Minority Report
A good thing about Minority Report is that there are some things in it that stay with you after you saw it. I've been thinking about a couple things in particular. First, Samantha Morton's acting as the 'precog' Agatha was especially strong. She's used to living in a tank, focused on visions of the future. There's a great line, straight out of Dick, when she is out of the tank, and asks "is it now?" Very dramatic, and the line and the way she says it teaches you a lot about the life she's lived.
In a different vein, this movie has more product placements than any movie I can remember seeing in quite a while. Everywhere you go in this world, there's an advertisement; and the ads are always reading your retinas and recognize you, and speak to you by name even in a crowded transit station. When you walk into a Gap, a computer personality recognizes you and asks how you liked those pants you purchased last time you were there. This is a natural sort of extrapolation from the way merchants use discount cards to track us now.
But the ubiquity of the ads, and the ubiquity of the product placements works against, at least for me, what the advertisers (and the producers and Spielberg?) thought they were getting. To me this ubiquitous advertising is part of a nightmare world, and I know it is in Dick's stories. This actualization of so many trends we see these days is scary, and energizes me to find ways to work against this world. Certainly not what the advertises intended!
Slate picks up on some of this nicely, in this article, and speculates on an interesting twist:
But here, in a weird way, the familiar product names may in fact be intended to serve almost as reassuring guideposts: Minority Report is set in a version of the future that is disturbing in some ways and entrancing in others, but it seems that whatever wild twists the future may hold, the one thing we can all be sure of is that it will turn out to be a brand-friendly place.
Whew! I guess that's unless you find the ads disturbing. While it made the world familiar, for this viewer, it made it part of a nightmare version of the future.
I remember, by the way, something from a Dick novel or story, but don't remember which one. In a scene, a character gets into the back of a cab, and there's a hologram commercial going on in the cab. But you can't turn off these ads, because they are protected by free speech! I wish I could remember which story or novel this was from.
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